Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blue Themed Bash Inspires Hope

Michelle Money flanked by Congressman Dan Boren (R)

by contributor Brendan Kownacki
Photos by Megan Podeszwa

It was a message of hope and inspiration on Wednesday evening when supporters and survivors gathered at the Decatur House for the Chris4Life Blue Hope Bash to benefit colon cancer research.

The elegant affair treated guests to more than dinner.  Stories of survival to help those currently battling colon cancer or those whose families had dealt with the condition captivated the audience.

WJLA legend Arch Campbell joined the affair with a video message talking about his own fight with cancer and his support for the cause. Also on hand were several members of Congress who were there to lend their support. Congressman Dan Boren of Oklahoma shared his own family struggle about his mother dying of colon cancer and how that has changed his life. 

“She never got to see me get elected to Congress, never got to see me get married, never got to see the birth of her granddaughter,” said Boren as he addressed the crowd…....and his passion was sincerely felt.

“I wanna beat this thing” he said, in reference to his efforts to bring legislation to the House that would help to make screening for colon cancer as common as it is for conditions like breast cancer. 

Breast cancer has been a popular cause to combat with organizations like Susan G. Komen, but the crowd present for Chris4Life was completely on board with the idea that with increased awareness there could be a reduced mortality for colon cancer since it is more survivable if caught early. 

Breast cancer has caught some of the spotlight and helped to ramp up the early detection, where colon cancer has not yet. Chris4Life founder Michael Sapienza believes though, “we’re gonna change this.”

Sapienza, who started the foundation as a memorial to his mother who lost her battle with colon cancer, carries an unmatched drive to push this cause forward through the D.C. area and beyond. “It’s overwhelming to see so many people here to support us for this thing my mother passed away from,” said Sapienza on the eve of the inaugural gala.

The undeniably passionate crowd, seated in the shadow of the White House, reveled in the support of all while joined by doctors, survivors and friends of the cause including Michelle Money who was featured on season 15 of ABC’s the Bachelor.  Money told guests about her father’s battle with colon cancer, sharing inspiring thoughts about her own advocacy for the cause.

Sapienza shared parting thoughts: “When my mother (Chris) passed away, she left an energy in the world,he said. That energy was absolutely apparent with every step taken during the night. Chris4Life was bringing more than a drive for a cure to people, it was bringing a hope  for survival.